13 August 2020
Whitehall Court, SW1A
For diehard 007 fans, this penthouse opposite the Ministry of Defence might be the ultimate hideaway. On the market for £5.5 million, this historic three-bedroom home once formed part of the original London headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service MI6. Owned by the Service's first director Sir Mansfield Smith-Cumming, who provided inspiration for Bond’s boss “M", the three-bedroom property makes a cameo appearance in the upcoming 007 film, No Time To Die.
As befitting a former lair of MI6, there are reinforced beams and specially hardened flooring, which were installed by the Secret Service during WW1. Based in the top three floors of the property, Smith-Cummings wrote about the building's secrecy in his memos: “Been here five weeks. Absolutely cut off (in the eaves) from everyone while here and cannot give my address out or be telephoned to under my own name.”
Old Queen Street, SWIH
As the old adage goes, ‘a man’s home is his castle.’ Business tycoon Henry G. Spicer was evidently a firm believer. Spicer was the director of Spicer Paper Merchants, once the world’s largest paper manufacturer and so set out to build a home of suitable grandeur. Located moments from Parliament Square, the home was originally built in 1909 as his family home and as a place to entertain clients, business associates and friends. No doubt they would have been impressed by the bespoke details; the townhouse bears the initials of Spicer throughout the property, including on an original bespoke weathervane, the original fireplace mantels and above the portico entrance. With modern appliances added over the years, 20 Old Queen Street is the ideal family home with Westminster School within walking distance and the City within easy reach.
Albert Terrace, NW1
In Dodie Smith's The One Hundred and One Dalmations, pooches Pongo and Perdita live with their owners Roger and Anita in a ‘modest but pretty’ Victorian house on the Outer Circle of Regent's Park. The house is rumoured to be modelled on this Albert Terrace mansion, which is now available to buy for the first time in almost 40 years with Beauchamp Estates.
When the book was published in 1956, it had a pink cover with illustrations by Janet and Anne Johnstone, showing a semi-detached house with a pillared entrance portico and glass panelled front door, in a strikingly similar style to this Primrose Hill property. These illustrations were the inspiration for storyboarder Bill Peet when creating Disney's animated 1961 adaptation. Today, this charming four-storey property retains its bubblegum façade, and comes complete with eight bedrooms, front and rear gardens and a roof terrace. Adorable dalmations sadly not included.
Walton Street, SW3
How many people can say that they live in a former church in Knightsbridge? St Saviours is a unique Grade II listed historical building that has been converted into an extraordinary modern seven-bedroom home. This exceptional property benefits from a magnificent drawing room with 12-metre vaulted ceilings, original stone pillars and oak beams providing a stunning area for comfortable living and spectacular entertaining.
It has had several owners over the years, each of them spending tens of millions on refurbishing and redecorating – Alain Boublil, the writer of the musical adaptation of Les Misérables, owned the house between 2003 and 2009. The property includes seven bedroom suites, a glass lift and parking for three cars. There is also an entire floor dedicated to leisure, complete with a swimming pool, gym, treatment room, sauna, steam room and media room with bar.
Mecklenburgh Square, WC1N
Famed for its distinguished residents, Mecklenburgh Square was once home to several members of the Bloomsbury Set, a group of influential intellectuals and creatives from the early 20th century. Among them was the medievalist scholar Eileen Power, who lived in this three-bedroom maisonette between 1922 and 1940. It was here she hosted regular ‘kitchen dances’, which were frequented by her eminent neighbours — including writer Virginia Woolf.
Spread over three floors, this elegant Grade II listed townhouse boasts soaring ceilings and expansive living spaces, spanning almost 2,400 sq ft in total. Occupying a central location on the terrace, the property has charming views overlooking Mecklenburgh Square Garden, two acres of green space exclusively reserved for resident key holders.
Bassett Road, W10
When it came to decorating their home, American artist Dodi Wexler and collector Luke Sadrian put their creative talents to good use. The interior design of their double-fronted Ladbroke Grove villa should serve as inspiration for future buyers, with contemporary gallery walls — including an homage to Keith Haring in the living room — juxtaposed with antique furniture and vintage rugs.
Now on the market for £9.25 million, this six-bedroom home boasts two reception rooms, a top-floor studio room, a conservatory, a private garden and a garden room. The Bassett Road house is being sold with planning to add a rear extension, which has the potential to boost the internal space by an additional 1,000 sq ft.